The Eucharist; the source that nourishes the faith

The “breaking of bread”, as the Eucharist was called in earliest times, has always been at the centre of the Church's life.
by Pope John Paul II | Source:
Apostolic Letter "Mane Nobiscum Domine"
Pope John Paul II

The “breaking of bread”, as the Eucharist was called in earliest times, has always been at the centre of the Church's life. Through it Christ makes present within time the mystery of his death and resurrection. In it he is received in person as the “living bread come down from heaven” (John 6:51), and with him we receive the pledge of eternal life and a foretaste of the eternal banquet of the heavenly Jerusalem. Following the teaching of the Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils and my own Predecessors, I have frequently urged the Church to reflect upon the Eucharist, most recently in the Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia. Here I do not intend to repeat this teaching, which I trust will be more deeply studied and understood. At the same time I thought it helpful for this purpose to dedicate an entire year to this wonderful sacrament.

As is known, the Year of the Eucharist will be celebrated from October 2004 to October 2005. The idea for this celebration came from two events which will serve to mark its beginning and end: the International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place from 10-17 October 2004 in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be held in the Vatican from 2-29 October 2005 on the theme: “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church”. I was also guided by another consideration: this year's World Youth Day will take place in Cologne from 16-21 August 2005. I would like the young people to gather around the Eucharist as the vital source which nourishes their faith and enthusiasm. A Eucharistic initiative of this kind had been on my mind for some time: it is a natural development of the pastoral impulse which I wanted to give to the Church, particularly during the years of preparation for the Jubilee and in the years that followed it.


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